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Certain Aspects of Design of Nepalese Degah with an Ambulatory Surrounding the Cella

Among the numerous types of temples (degah) found in the Kathmandu Valley and its environs, attention will be given to those shrines defined by a square cella surrounded by an outer ambulatory. Distinction will be made between two groups of degah with the given characteristics. The first group can be identified by a 'closed ambulatory' of a surrounding brick wall with tripartite gates on all four sides. The shrines of the second group are surrounded by an open gallery of timber posts. The temples of the first subgroup will be called 'state temples of the Pasupati type'. The fifteen examples which are still existing had been dedicated to a defined range of deities. Their origin can be traced back to Iranian temples of the 6th to 4th century B.C. followd by Indian examples since ca.500 A.D. The first known temple in the Kathmandu Valley with an open gallery was erected in 1626 A.D. in Patan. This type follows a large number of characteristics of the temple with 'closed ambulatory'. However, the craftsmen had to develop a range of new principles partly initiated by religious concepts and subsequently demanded by structural needs following the change in layout plan and vertical dimensions. It has to be kept in mind that the temple types under consideration are not the only examples reflecting the achitectural development of the late Malla period.

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